DIY projects to help you pass the time

By Amanda Pereira
May 28, 2020

When we moved into our brand-new home in the fall of 2018, all I fantasized about was having a fenced-in yard. Lush grass under my feet, garden beds as far as the eye could see. Friends ensconced by patio furniture with overstuffed cushions, and a vegetable garden to rival my late grandfather’s.

It goes without saying, as most people did, I had a lot of plans this spring – and as surly 2020 would have it, a lot of them wouldn’t be fulfilled. Not this year, not while the world was suspended in a temporary lapse of time (Which on that note: What day is it? I don’t know, I haven’t changed the calendar since March. I’ve relied exclusively on the varying temperatures of mercurial Ontario which knows only two experiences: extreme heat or cold enough to snap extremities off.)

A lack of concept of time aside, and a momentary pause on social gatherings in favour of physical distancing, the current state of affairs in the world has created an opportunity to finally get around to all those ‘someday’ plans. You know, the ones you said you’d like to do ‘someday’ but not today, not when you can readily fill your time with something else.

In fact, you might have a few of ideas that are similar to mine currently pinned to your DIY board on Pinterest:

Sidelight

Our house has two sidelights that flank either side of our front door. They emit a lot of light, but to have them fitted with shades when we were getting our window fixtures installed was the cost of a Tiffany bracelet.

Often times, those who come to our door simply cannot resist stealing a peek into the sidelights, and that leaves us feeling particularly vulnerable at times – especially when a lapse in memory has us running to the basement half-dressed in search of pants.

We considered getting glass inserts replaced, but that was another costly investment that would have required someone coming into our home. After some research and consideration, I discovered static cling-on sidelight film for as little as $15 a sheet, making this a privacy and savings win.

Planters

Alright, it’s not the garden beds I had dreamt up a year ago, but compromises have to be made.

2 x 4 pieces of wood can run for a little under $12 making this a relatively inexpensive project. You’ll want to stick to wood that’s rot-resistant and will be able to withstand the elements. If you’re worried about needing heavy duty saws or anything of that ilk – don’t sweat it.

Most home improvement stores will have associates available that can cut wood down to fit your specified dimensions, just make sure you know what you need ahead of time. If you’re not proficient with a drill and lack strong hand/eye coordination, you can always opt for waterproof wood glue.

The best part of this project is that a lot of these DIY planters can be assembled in under an hour and for as little as $20. Be sure to drill in drainage holes at the base of the planter to ensure you don’t accidentally drown your plants. (And don’t worry about these being perfectly centred, any errors will be a secret between you, the planter and the ground.)

If you want to up the ante and get creative, you can apply a stain or paint to make them unique to your home’s aesthetic.

Shelves

My partner and I have been discussing installing floating shelves for literally a year and a half. In fact, I think it was one of the first things we thought about before we even unloaded our first box into our place. We just never got around to it because, well… when the world isn’t on a temporary pause, everything else seems more important – including marathoning Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle and TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé.

Now seemed as good a time as ever to go ahead and finally install the additional shelving space we desperately needed in our kitchen to rehome items that had taken up residence on our countertops.

Like the planters, you can create DIY floating shelves inexpensively. For a kitchen, you’ll want to go for about 12 inches in depth depending on what you’re planning on storing there. Otherwise, 10 inches will be sufficient. You’ll also need to install steel brackets that can cost anywhere from $7-10 (you won’t escape the drill component on this one, though – sorry!)

Mason Jars

Have you tried to buy yeast in the last three months? What about flour? Yeah, same. Pantry staples have felt hard to come by these days and it feels like everyone and their mother is baking – yours truly included. Thankfully, bulk stores have been our saving grace and we’ve been able to readily find things like yeast, flour, and other things like popcorn kernels and rice.

So, just where do you store these bags of loose cooking ingredients and spices? Mason jars, of course. And the best part is…you guessed it, it’s cheap-cheap-cheap! You can find cases of 12 on Amazon for under $12. Mason jars stack easily in your pantry, and will inspire you to finally shed the random bags and mismatched containers that occupy too much space in your pantry.

Whether you try out some of our suggestions, or uncover DIY projects of your own, have fun with it, and get creative.

We’ll get through this time together.

Have great ideas? Become a Contributor.

Contact Us

Our Publications

Read all your favourites online without a subscription

Read Now

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Sign up to receive the smartest advice and latest inspiration from the editors of NextHome

Subscribe